Dear all, As PTC has recently expressed, I believe our forum can be many things, from a showplace for recent happenings on campus, to a focal point for ‘all Ephs’ to discuss common topics which touch us all.
In the near term, I believe we will best handle that by a transition from our current format, to one where it’s much easy to sort the news, opinion and discussion sections.
We are also, in some sense, an experimental medium, with fewer established formats and conventions. But even in the newspapers of a century ago, I believe local news and ephemera, benefited from being placed in the context of the events of its times.
And we certainly have come to live, in most interesting times.
In the below, I try to offer a little space, for any Eph[1] to comment as they wish, on the development of peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestine.

What I want to begin with, are my reservations, if I can, without pre-empting or distorting the discussion.

My reservations are profound. I will not hold, that the word “mediocre” came to mind, when listening to Ms. Clinton’s announcement.

But what I did not hear, from Ms. Clinton or evidently anyone, was much historical understanding. I heard much superficial and sweet rhetoric, about “two states living beside each other in peace” and so forth, but, as with so much of Mr. Obama’s proposals, what I did not hear–

I am not against peace– just the opposite. Neither am I against either party. But I sit tonight in Prague, a city which has a long history, of attempting State-based solutions, based on “ethnic” or other ideas of identity.

Two decades ago, as the Soviet occupation fell apart, the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia. In the wonder of this moment of freedom, I was also left with moments of dismay.

As we separated into different nation-states, suddenly, as well, people began to assert that we were different peoples, living side-by-side, yet with profoundly different interests.

For a century at least, we had lived together, the minor differences in languages easily passed over, and with shared institutions. Czech and Slovak film– was one thing, of course.

But suddenly, in the street, in a business, — there was so often the declaration that we could not understand each other. Because of a minor difference in words, even as minor as the pronunciation of an ‘e’ at the end of a word, one or woman would suddenly turn to another, and declare, ‘that’s not my language, I cannot understand you, we are different– and cannot talk.’

No where was the potential tragedy of the ‘State’ solution more visible, than in the small villages on our border, divided through their centers by political separation. Each day in some of these, peasant farmers suddenly had to pass border control agents taking their cows to water each morning, and again back to pasture in the afternoons.

I would not be surprised to find that each cow had been issued its own passport.

Only a half-century before, Europe had also attempted to define who we are how we relate, that is, our political and economic arrangements, in terms of nation-states, with disastrous results. And less than another five years would pass from the fall of the Berlin Wall, until the idea of states based in national identities, unfolded into genocide on the European continent.

There are other ideas, other political and economic arrangements. There is the possibility that, rather than two peoples and nations living side-by-side but separately, that we may have common interests, a common life, and common culture.

It would be dishonest, not to admit that this latter ideal, also did not prevail in the years that led to the Holocaust. But perhaps that is because it was not given a chance.

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